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N.S.F. Gives $7.2 Million for 'Hands-On' Science Material

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WASHINGTON--The National Science Foundation has granted $7.2 million to four organizations to create and distribute "hands-on'' materials for elementary-school science programs.

The awards mark the second part of a 10-year project to make science education more stimulating by combining the efforts, talents, and resources of scientists, educators, and textbook publishers.

Last year, the foundation awarded a total of $6.6 million to three organizations to develop K-6 science curricula. Over the next decade, as the program is expanded to include middle- and high-school materials, the NSF expects to spend an additional $10 million on the project. (See Education Week, Feb. 4, 1987.)

Each award requires a significant investment by the project's publisher, and all participating publishers have pledged to contribute 5 percent of the gross revenues derived from the materials' sales to teacher training.

Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, assistant director for science and engineering education at NSF, said the publishers will play a critical role in disseminating the new curricula and activities.

"It's not enough to develop [interesting materials],'' he said. "It doesn't help anyone for them to sit on the shelf.''

The new grants include:

  • A $2.2-million award to Life Lab Science Program, Inc., of Capitola, Calif., to expand its "garden-based'' life-science program. The organization will work with the Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., of Menlo Park, Calif., which will invest the same amount in the project.
  • A $1.9-million award to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, to develop supplemental books and activities for common science textbooks. Silver, Burdett and Ginn, a Morristown, N.J., publishing company, will contribute $2.2 million to the project.
  • A $1.4-million grant to Scholastic, Inc., of New York City, to develop two classroom magazines, for grades 1-3 and for grades 4-6, and accompanying computer software. The firm will invest more than $5.2 million of its own money in the project over the next four years.
  • A $1.7-million award to the Center for Multisensory Learning of the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, Calif., to expand a collection of multisensory, laboratory-based activities for grades 3-6 that will cover life-, physical-, and earth-science topics. The Ohaus Scale Corporation, of Florham Park, N.J., will contribute $2.4 million to the program.

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